Because capitalism is so brutally competitive, it's rare to find a company that can thrive for generations. However, every now and then a company comes along that's so strong, it can not only survive but also thrive for decades.
So which stocks do we Fools believe are built to last? We asked a team of investors to answer that question and they picked Disney (NYSE:DIS), Toronto Dominion Bank (NYSE:TD), and McCormick (NYSE:MKC).
Stick with Mickey and Co.
Keith Noonan (Disney): Founded in 1923, The Walt Disney Company has built an entertainment empire that's stood the test of time, and it remains a company that's worth buying if you have a decades-long investment horizon and may want to pass it on to the next generation. Shares have dipped roughly 5% year to date over concerns about the ongoing impact of cord-cutting on its media networks, questions about the viability of its upcoming streaming platforms, and guidance for flat earnings this year, but I think the sell-offs present an opportunity to buy a great heirloom stock at an attractive price.
The company's film, television, theme parks, and consumer products businesses have tremendous synergy, and between properties such as Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and creative units such as Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, with their proven track records of introducing new hits, Disney has what it takes to thrive in a changing entertainment landscape.
The stock's dividend-growth potential also deserves some attention. The lagging share price and 10% payout increase last year have pushed the stock's yield to 1.6%, and a payout ratio of less than 27% suggests that the House of Mouse has plenty of room to continue delivering substantial dividend growth.
With a growing income component and a strong business built around the world's most valuable stable of entertainment properties, Disney is a top stock to own for the long haul, and it looks as if investors have an opportunity for a cheap entry point, with the company trading at roughly 17 times forward earnings estimates.
Over a century of dividends
Reuben Gregg Brewer (Toronto Dominion Bank): TD Bank, a stock I own, has paid dividends for 160 consecutive years. It offers a yield of around 3.5% today, well above the 2% or so the broader market offers. And since 1995, the dividend has increased at an annualized rate of 11% -- more than three times the historical rate of inflation growth.
If that's not enough to get your attention, TD Bank has leading banking operations in two countries -- Canada (61% of earnings) and the United States (26%). Although its Canadian business is largely mature (it's No. 2 in the market by deposits), its U.S. footprint remains relatively modest (it's "only" in the top 10 by deposits). Stepping back, that means it has a solid foundation on which to expand into a new market -- which should afford it years of opportunity. And that's on top of the growth prospects of its other business, which include a stake in TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD) and its wholesale business (about 13% of earnings combined).
Some industry watchers are concerned about the high prices being paid for homes in key Canadian markets, including Toronto. That deserves watching, but one of TD Bank's core tenets is to take only prudent and necessary risks. That's how its built a 160-year dividend record and why you might want to add this financially strong and high-yielding North American banking giant to your portfolio as it continues to grow.
This company proves that boring is beautiful
Brian Feroldi (McCormick): Technological advancements are bound to disrupt a wide range of industries in the coming years. That makes it difficult to find safe-haven investments that can truly stand the test of time. However, I'm a firm believer that spice maker McCormick is one such business.
McCormick is a leading provider of spices, seasoning mixes, condiments, and other flavorful products. The company dominates most grocery-store spice aisles thanks to its ownership of well-known brand names, including McCormick, Lawry's, and Old Bay. What's more, the company is also a major supplier to industrial food makers. Ever bought a packaged food item or dined at a quick-service restaurant? The odds are good that McCormick supplied that company with a few of its raw ingredients.
For investors, one attractive feature of the spice market is that demand for spices tends to remain steady in good times and bad. After all, spices don't cost much, yet they make an enormous difference to the taste and quality of food. That factor allowed McCormick's revenue and profits to remain strong even through the teeth of the financial crisis.
Owning a spice maker might sound boring, but if you're looking for a company that's truly built to last, I think McCormick is about as good as it gets.
Brian Feroldi owns shares of McCormick and Walt Disney. Keith Noonan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Reuben Gregg Brewer owns shares of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends McCormick. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.